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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of November 5, 2018
  • Wash containers that held annuals and herbs with a solution of 1 part household bleach and 9 parts water.  Wooden containers will need an application of linseed oil to help preserve them.
  • The popular fall ornamental kale that many of us use to decorate our fall containers is an edible vegetable.  The red, purple and white leaves may be picked as needed for use in cooking.
  • Apply a copper-based fungicide to tomato stakes to destroy any blight-causing fungus.  The spores of this fungus can persist on stakes though the winter months.  Once they have dried, apply a wood preservative such as linseed soil.
  • An attractive, sweet pepper for the vegetable garden is ‘Candy Cane Red’ (Capsicum annuum).  Its variegated foliage, early harvesting (beginning just 45 days after transplanting) and green and white striped fruit make it a beautiful, delicious addition.  The peppers are 4” long and the plants mature at 2’ tall.
  • A new dwarf, English lavender is ‘Wee One’ (Lavandula angustifolia).  Growing only 8” to 10” tall and 1’ wide, ‘Wee One’ grows into a tight mound of tiny green leaves and lavender scented purple-blue flowers.  Ideal for rock gardens due to its size and its ability to withstand drought-like conditions.  Hardy in zones 5-9.
  • Some of the best choices when choosing what to compost are perennials that have been cut back, dying potted plants and annuals along with their root balls, leaves, grass clippings, straw, chipped brush, sawdust, pine needles, vegetable and fruit wastes, seaweed, eggshells, coffee grounds and paper filters, as well as tea bags.
  • If you run out of time (or energy) to complete your garden clean up this fall, the uncut garden will provide cover and food for birds who especially like the seed heads of zinnias, coreopsis, rudbeckias, agastaches and cone flowers.
  • Protect fruit trees from mice by wrapping the base of the tree trunks with metal tree guards.  Purchase 18” tall cylinders of mesh hardware cloth and cut to fit.
  • Iris borer eggs winter over in the foliage of bearded iris.  Be sure to cut the foliage down and dispose of it.

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